Make space. Find peace. Feel joy.

Packing light is worth the effort

29 January 2015

Packing light can be more effort but it's worth it

In early December I traveled to Washington state to visit my parents just days after I broke my wrist. I blogged then that I would have to simplify my travel taking the bare minimum number of items so that I could lift my suitcase with one hand. Since I also couldn’t fasten pants with a zipper, the number of clothing items I could take was limited anyway.

I really liked packing light. It had a number of advantages:

  • My light suitcase made travel easier
  • It was easy to carry my suitcase up the stairs at my host’s house
  • Fewer choices for what to wear made dressing easier
  • Unpacking took less time

Now I’m planning another trip to visit my parents, which is being tacked on to a trip to a genealogy conference. I’m a convert to packing light, but I also want to look good at my conference. That feels like a much bigger challenge.

I know I can do it, since my wardrobe is comprised of mix-and-match neutral separates (thanks to personal style coaching from my friend, Geralin Thomas). It’s going to take a little more effort as I plan what to pack. It’s much easier to just throw items into a suitcase just in case I might need them. But doing some planning and mindful packing before I leave will make my entire trip easier.

It seems ironic to me that packing light is can be more work than packing heavy. But I think it’s worth the effort.

Photo by Camilo Rueda Lopez via Flickr.

An empty drawer is a beautiful thing

26 January 2015

An empty drawer is a thing of beauty

My team and I helped a client declutter and organize her entire home last week and we were able to make a huge impact—because the client parted with so much. She was so ready to let go of the excess that was weighing her down and she made amazing decisions. As we took out bag after bag of denotable items, the rooms seemed to get lighter.

All the team members—and the client—were practically giddy over it.

When it came time to organize the items that were kept, it was a breeze. We found ourselves with empty drawers and even an empty cabinet when we were finished. Folks, that’s a rarity. And it’s a great thing.

To me, an empty drawer represents abundance (though it may appear the opposite). It represents the ability to bring in new items, new ideas, new opportunities. By letting go of so much, this client has opened herself up to a whole new way of life. She’ll no longer have to struggle to find what she needs. Everything in her home has a place (another rarity). Possibilities have opened up.

I have every confidence that she’ll be able to maintain the order. If she has difficulty, she now has a resource (me) to get her right back on track.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the less stuff you own, the easier life is.

If you have more items than you can store comfortably and the excess is getting in your way, consider letting stuff go. I promise that living in your home will become less of a struggle. And who doesn’t want that?

Worth repeating: Ten minutes to calm

22 January 2015

I wrote this post a year ago, but the scenario has been repeated here many times. Taking just ten minutes to put stuff away and tidy up can have powerful results!

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down at my cleared-off desk (I’d cleared it because the housecleaner was coming that morning), and proceeded to trash it. I don’t know what happened—I think I was looking for something I’d written down but couldn’t find. Plus I’d probably dumped some stuff on the desk when I came home. (Yikes.)

I eventually found what I was looking for and turned my attention to my computer screen so that I could get some work done, but the stuff remained all over my desk.

I didn’t really need to use my desk’s surface—my work was focused on my computer—but I still couldn’t get anything done. The ideas weren’t flowing. I was distracted by my messy desk.

So after an hour or so of spinning my wheels, I decided to do something about the desktop. Good organizer that I am, I took a before picture. Then I pressed play on a ten-minute playlist iTunes and I started putting stuff away. And throwing stuff away. I made file folders and filed a few papers. I added some items to my task list.

Here’s what happened in just ten minutes:

Messy desk before:

Ten minutes to a cleaner desk

Just ten minutes later:

Just ten minutes of decluttering took this desk from chaos to calm

I’m continually impressed with how powerful just a small amount of time decluttering can be. The trick is to pick a small space and finish in the allotted time—don’t leave it half done. The other trick is to do it fairly often; I dealt with yesterday’s clutter so quickly because it was not very deep.

Take a look around the room you’re in. Is there a little space (a shelf? a surface?) that you could declutter this weekend? Trust me, it’ll feel so good.

Tackling the sock challenge

20 January 2015

Socks are such a huge challenge for so many of my clients. It seems like most have more than they can store comfortably. (And when you have items than you can store comfortably, you have clutter.)

I think part of the problem is the inevitable singleton sock. (Here’s a solution to that problem created by one of my clients.) You’re loathe to let go of the orphan sock for fear of regret if the match shows up. And those single socks take up valuable space in your sock drawer.

Other clients seem to have trouble staying on top of laundry and so they purchase more socks, which only adds to the challenge of staying on top of the laundry, because there are so many socks to wash and put away.

Sometimes I suggest to clients they declare sock bankruptcy and start over. I suggest they let go of the current sock population and replace it with two types of socks, light and dark, for example. Having fewer distinctive pairs of socks, and fewer socks in general, makes matching and storing them much easier. Suddenly a part of the laundry challenge is eliminated.

My own sock drawer had gotten out of hand, though not to the point where I needed sock bankruptcy. The drawer was messy and not particularly organized, so I finally decided to focus a little energy on it. I emptied it and let go of all the socks that didn’t have mates or that I didn’t enjoy wearing. I found that I had an overabundance of white athletic ankle socks and I decided to keep just one type. (I’d bought a bundle of them at Costco, so there were plenty.)

At the Container Store, I purchased three adjustable drawer organizers for the project. Two are skinny (3.75 inches wide) and intended for socks and one is wider (about 5.25 inches wide), intended for underwear. The three fit beautifully side by side in my drawer. (My husband and I store our socks in a three-drawer nightstand; he gets two drawers, I get one.)

My light socks fit in one skinny section and my dark socks in the other. In the wider section, I now store tights, which I had been keeping in a basket on top of my dresser. I hated how the basket cluttered my dresser, so this is a big improvement.

Here are the before and after pictures. The whole project took less than a half hour. It did require me to let go of some socks, but, as you can see, I still have an ample supply. And no singletons!

The adjustable slider in the drawer dividers makes it easy for me to keep the socks upright and in the front of the drawer. It’s only been a week, but I’m happy!

Get back on track March 14 (a special event in St. Louis!)

15 January 2015

I’m very excited to be offering a special in-person workshop with my friend and frequent collaborator, the fabulous life coach Shannon Wilkinson.

…Make 2015 the year you reach your goals!

Did you set a big 2015 goal for yourself, and now you wonder if it’s really possible?

Did you avoid setting any goals, even if there’s stuff you’d really like to do, because you can’t stand the thought of being disappointed? (Again.)

Whether you’re trying to get organized, get in shape, or bring a big dream to life, it can be a struggle to stick with it and reach your goal. But . . .

It doesn’t have to be so hard.

In fact, using the latest research and our years of experience to guide you could make reaching your goals easier than you ever imagined.

Join us, life coach Shannon Wilkinson of Perception Studios and professional organizer Janine Adams of Peace of Mind Organizing, in this powerful, yet informal and relaxed event to help you set or revise your goals for 2015 and create a plan to reach them.

This 90-minute event starts with us sharing the key points about what works (and what doesn’t) when you’re setting goals, then the real magic happens! We’ll spend the rest of the time answering your questions and providing live coaching to get you where you want to go. We’ll be using people’s real-life situations to illustrate how each of you can move forward with your goals.

We hope you’ll join us for this unique, affordable opportunity to learn and grow in 2015 and beyond!


Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Place: A location in St. Louis City (to be finalized soon)

Cost: Just $34

To reserve your spot, click the Buy Now button! (You can pay with PayPal or a credit card.)

Buy Now

More about us

Hi, we’re life coach Shannon Wilkinson and professional organizer Janine Adams. We’ve co-taught several courses, including the Declutter Happy Hour e-course, and and the Create Freedom and Ease with Habits and Routines workshop. We have collaborated many times over the years, and the results have been transformational for our participants!


Shannon Wilkinson


Janine, a certified professional organizer, has helped hundreds of St. Louisans create peace and order in their homes over her ten years as a professional organizer. She’s all about asking people to be kind to themselves and let get organizing be as easy as possible.

Shannon, a certified life coach, is obsessed with change. She uses mind-bending tools, like NLP and hypnosis, to help you change your mind, change your behaviors and ultimately change the world.

Because Janine lives in St. Louis and Shannon lives in Portland, Oregon, this is a unique opportunity to learn from them together, in person.

Want to add in private, individual coaching with Shannon?

Shannon is making a special offer for event attendees to add private coaching sessions while she’s in St. Louis. These in-person, one-hour sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once those in-person spaces are gone, you will be guided to schedule a phone coaching session at a later date. You can use your session for coaching on goals or any other issue. Shannon rarely offers single, private sessions, and when she does, they’re $215. As an event attendee, you’ll get a 16% discount, and pay just $181. It’s like getting the Back on Track event for free!

Get attendance to the event PLUS a session with Shannon for $215. Click the Buy Now button!
Buy Now

Great Day St. Louis appearance

13 January 2015

I appeared on the local morning talk show Great Day St. Louis on KMOV-TV this morning (Kevin Costner was there too!), talking about getting organized in the new year.

Here’s the video of my appearance.

I didn’t get a chance to say everything I wanted to say (I think they gave Kevin Costner a couple of the minutes I was supposed to have), so I wanted to list a few resources here, for anyone who might have come to my website after watching.

  • To find a professional organizer in St. Louis, go to the website of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.
  • A great place to take online organizing classes is Simplify 101.
  • can help you get advice from experts and support from peers, for a small monthly fee.

I had fun doing the interview and I’m grateful to my friend and style consultant, Geralin Thomas, for helping me figure out what to wear. Geralin does personal style consulting in person (in North Carolina) or over the phone. I can heartily recommend her!

Do your resolutions need a boost?

12 January 2015

Where are you on the New Year’s Resolution Continuum?

(statistics from 2008 survey by Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ)


If you fall in that big middle group (or have drifted into the no resolutions group due to disappointment) this could be the year for something different.

A few years ago, Shannon Wilkinson and I teamed up to teach a teleclass on how to actually do the stuff you set out to do every year. We shared the reasons resolutions don’t work, and more importantly, we talked about how to change that. We gave tips and strategies and guided participants through helpful exercises so they experienced a new way of approaching their resolutions and goals.

It was pretty darn awesome. And it’s still available. (At a $5 discount for a limited time.)

The audio of the class and a companion 24-page workbook are available for download right now. The workbook will take you through the process outlined in the teleclass and includes worksheets so you can keep track of your goals and resolutions and how you’ll go about achieving them.

Maybe your resolution (once again) is to declutter and get organized this year. Or maybe you want to make changes for your health, creativity or finances. Our approach is terrific for whatever set your sights on.

Why Resolutions Don’t Work (and How to Get What You Want Anyway)

The recording is great to listen to any time you want to re-vamp a resolution that isn’t working, create a new habit or establish a goal that really works for you. The workbook can stand alone (if you’d rather read than listen) or can help you get more out of the audio.


  • In the audio, we talk for about an hour and then open it up for questions.
  • The course covers the common reasons that setting resolutions doesn’t work, and takes you through exercises that help you get what you want.
  • The 24-page workbook is based on the content of the audio, but isn’t a mere transcript. (The Q&A is transcribed, however.) It includes worksheets to make the most of Shannon’s meditations.
  • This is for anyone who has been frustrated by resolutions or goals, and wants to learn a new way to approach it.
  • The cost? Just 19 14 bucks.

The price is ordinarily (a very reasonable) $19. But between now and February 15, you can get $5 off using the coupon code SAVE5 at checkout. That makes this resource just $14.

Are you in? Yes? Just click the “Add to Cart” button:

Add to Cart

Here’s to getting what you really want in 2015!

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